With rhino being slaughtered at a unsustainable rate of 2 a day-everyday, poaching is the biggest threat to wildlife in Africa. Although the murder of a rhino is always tragic, sometimes something happens that makes it even more dreadful. That is when the rhino is female and she is expecting. With the population dwindling at a phenomenal rate, somehow this seems the most sinful of crimes.
This is exactly what happened in Nairobi National Park. For the first time in 6 years, a rhino was poached here. So rare because the park is located only 4 miles from Kenya’s capital city, which has made this a daring endeavor.
The mom to be was standing near a watering hole, no doubt quenching her thirst, in as vulnerable a position as she could be. Most likely the cowardly poachers waited near the hole, knowing at some point she would come to them.
“It shows the great heights these criminals are willing to go,” said Paul Udoto, the wildlife service’s spokesman. “It’s something we are taking very seriously because it’s a new level of poaching for us. And it is indeed very daring.”
This marks 35 rhino poached in Kenya this year, as opposed to 29 in 2012.
Kenya’s poaching laws have not kept up with the times. In January 4 Chinese men were caught smuggling ivory out of Kenya, but received a slap on the wrist, no jail time and a $400 fine. Of course this is nothing when you consider the payoff they could have gotten from the ivory ($1000 per kilogram).
If there is a bright spot in any of this, in the time since the poaching, KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service) is on high alert with an increase in security, and there are appeals to the government to pass stronger poaching laws, enacting harsher fines and sentences. If indeed something is enacted, perhaps the poor white rhino cow and her unborn did not die in vain.